Interview: Marjorie Hyams - JazzWax

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April 30, 2020


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Larry Kart

Lovely interview with a lovely person. I though Hyams might be gone -- great to discover that she's not. The Miles stories are especially nice.

Deborah E

Wow. Quite the interview with the classy lady. Thanks for sharing!

-Deborah E

Ed Leimbacher

Talk about good vibes... Marc-man, that was perfect.

Steve Provizer

Very interesting how the rhythm section keeps the time in the out chorus of the Continental, while the melody instruments all displace it together.

John P. Cooper

Thx! That was fast. What should I wish for next? More interviews with Jazz women of the era or Jazz writers or Jazz producers.

Jim Cameron

Interesting that John Cltrane was her favorite of all.

Charlton Price

Margie Hyams was a delight in the first Herman Herd, 1945-46. They had a Saturday night radio show for Wildroot that I saw several weeks in row -- I'd get in to the dress rehearsal, than out for a sandwich, then in for the broadcast.(I knew a girl who knew another girl who knew Bill Harris.) I think Margie took solos with the big band and also the Fliptet, which morphed into the Woodchoppers. It was a powerful rhythm section with (I think I have this right)Ralph Burns, Billy Bauer, Chubby Jackson, and Don Lamond. She was integral,tasteful in that setting.

Larry Kart

That would have been when Bill Evans was stationed at Fort Sheridan, about 35 miles north of Chicago.

Ruy Mauricio de Lima e Silva Neto

No,Ms.Deborah, thanks for Shearing...
And, Mr.Myers, would you be so kind as to disclose to me the e-mail of Ms.Hyams? I would like very much to thank her for so many delightful recordings and solos, beginning with the original "Conception",of course.
Anyway, congratulations for re-establishing the greatness and the utmost value of so many people devoured by nowadays' meaninglessness.

William nichols

would someone be able to give marjorie hayams e mail address or phone number. As a young visual artist marj and her husband bill gave me and my friends a place to stay in there house in the 60s in evanston illinois. I would like to reach her.

Roger Cotterrell

What a pleasure to hear news from Margie Hyams and to know that, after the time with Shearing, she stayed so active in music. I too had believed Leonard Feather's statement that post-Shearing she had 'retired'. Also great (but not really surprising) to learn just how much she contributed to the success of Shearing's first quintet. Her 'November Seascape' composition recorded by that group but very rarely reissued shows just what an adventurous musician she could be. I too would love to be able to contact her and thank her for so much lovely music. Is that possible?

Ben Ryan

I met Margie when she was married to the President of American National Bank in Chicago. I was Pres.of a small bank in N.W.Illinois and we met at a convention in Miami. I couldn't believe my luck that she was the famous vibe player that I had heard so much when I was growing up. She said her husband (The Pres.of American Bank) was also a bass player. It didn't dawn on me that the Pete Peterson might be the long time basist with Red Norvo and was now President of a major bank in Chicago. Does Margie have an e-mail address that I could renew my contact with her after many years?

Ray Sharpless

While in the Air Force and on leave in Chicago in 1954, George Shearing was playing at a downtown club, and I went every night to see the group. Margie came in to sit in on a couple of nights, and her playing was fantastic. I wish to thank her for all the good music she's given to jazz fans like me.
Ray Sharpless

Nicole Williams Sitaraman

Thank you for this amazing interview! What a great musician. I have posted a link to this interview on my blog, Jazz Virtuosa, which celebrates women musicians in jazz. Just as an inside, Marc, thank you for this blog. I read it regularly and consider it on my most important go-to resources for jazz history information. I look forward reading your upcoming book. All the best! - Nicole Williams Sitaraman

Lester Brandt

In 1948 I was an 18 year old GI stationed at Camp Kilmer, in NJ. On a trip to New York City I was looking for Jazz and ended up at Bop City which was on 52d Street if my memory serves me. I bought a Coca Cola for $1.00 and sat in the upper seats. I was amazed and pleased to see Black and White people sitting together and even though I was a young sprout I could appreciate how love of music bridged racial gaps. When George Shearing came on stage led by Margie, I was treated to a brand new musical sound. The mating of George's piano and Margie's vibes opened an whole new world for me. Thanks for such wonderful music memories that you and George gifted me with.

Mel Narunsky

June 16, 2012

John Levy left us in January, and now Margie.

They lived long lives and were well respected.

I am saddened by the losses.

RIP, Margie.

John Daly (Ireland)

What an amazing woman and musician, an incredible career and an amazing contribution to jazz. RIP


Marc, interesting interview with Margie.


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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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